Deal offered tourists for 3 area attractions

tflach@thestate.comNovember 24, 2012 

Admission to three major Midlands attractions will get a little cheaper next spring for out-of-towners.

Area tourism officials are set to offer a joint admission ticket of $25 for tourists to visit Riverbanks Zoo, EdVenture children’s museum and the State Museum during a five-day stay.

That’s a savings of $5.25 for adults who visits all three facilities.

“It’s tourism-boosting,” State Museum spokesman Tut Underwood said of the price break. “It gives people from out-of-town an incentive to come.”

The idea — modeled after what other communities do — is one that officials at the Midlands Authority for Conventions, Sports and Tourism have wanted to try.

“The hope is that is will entice people to stay an extra day or more,” zoo executive director Satch Krantz said.

Lexington County Council members encouraged the step, hoping it helps fill local hotels and increases related taxes across-the-board for counties and municipalities.

“It should pay off for our area,” council chairman Bill Banning said.

If successful, other types of joint deals may follow.

“We’re looking at all kinds of different combinations,” authority president Ric Luber said. “Our goal is to develop one-stop shopping for what visitors can do when they’re here.”

The admission break will be available only through online marketing aimed at those who live more than 50 miles from the Columbia area. It will start after Jan. 1.

“We’re not marketing this locally,” Luber said.

Unsure what to expect, tourism officials are not estimating how many extra visitors the deal might produce.

Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.

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